Monday, 18 February 2013

The BBC's Atlantis

There are quite a few BBC productions I'm really looking forward to at the moment: the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, Sherlock series three, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, and also Atlantis. This is the BBC's recently announced replacement for Merlin. It's going to be airing in the autumn and will be taking the same Saturday-night time-slot as Merlin. Just like Doctor Who and Merlin, it will be a family-friendly show. Its episodes will be about 45 minutes long and it will be a 13 episode series. But whereas Merlin dealt with Arthurian mythology, Atlantis will be dealing with Greek mythology. The hero of the show is going to be called Jason but they haven't yet announced if this is going to be the same Jason as the one of the Argonauts story. I'd imagine so. The official synopsis for the show is this:

"The city of Atlantis is a mysterious, ancient place; a world of bull leaping, of snake haired goddesses and of palaces so vast it was said they were built by giants. It’s into this strange, compelling realm that the young Jason arrives and an amazing adventure begins, bringing to life the vast store of Greek myths and legends re-imagined for a new generation in an action packed 13-part series."

The filming for Atlantis is going to start in April and it will be filmed in Wales and Morocco; presumably with all of the interior scenes being filmed at some studio set in Cardiff and with all of the exterior scenes being filmed in Morocco. Atlantis is also being produced by the exact same people who made Merlin. Merlin's co-creators, Julian Murphy and Johnny Capps, will be its Executive Producers along with Howard Overman. Overman created E4's Misfits - which I haven't seen but know is well-regarded. He also wrote some of the very best episodes of Merlin: like The Beginning of the End, The Sins of the Father and The Death Song of Uther Pendragon. OK, he also wrote Goblin's Gold but since his good stuff outweighed the bad I'll let him off!

Atlantis sounds very interesting and I'm quite looking forward to it. I'm grateful to the makers of Merlin and I wish them luck with Atlantis. I'm not expecting it to get off to an amazing start since Merlin did take a little while to find its feet, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if a naff CGI Cyclops or Minotaur showed up at some point, but I am feeling optimistic. The fact that it's being made by the exact same people is making me hopeful. Obviously there are going to be differences between the two shows but I'm guessing they're going to have a similar tone and feel. It would have been really nice if they could have actually done filming in Greece rather than Morocco but oh well.

Since the filming is due to start in April I'm guessing that casting news is likely to be on the way soon. I imagine the cast is likely to be a mixture of talented, relatively unknown actors - of the Colin Morgan/Bradley James/Angel Coulby/Katie McGrath variety - and famous, veteran actors of the Anthony Stewart Head/Richard Wilson/John Hurt variety. I really hope they do a great job with the casting because that was one of Merlin's biggest strengths. It managed to pull in some very impressive guest stars, it had a terrific ensemble cast, and getting Colin Morgan to star as Merlin in particular was a stroke of genius. It would be really nice if they managed to get some Merlin actors to guest-star in Atlantis actually - especially Alexander Vlahos because he's great and is even half-Greek. We'll just have to wait and see!


Anonymous said...

I share your enthusiasm. :)
Regarding Goblin's Gold, Overman had the task to write a lighthearted, funny episode, and he managed to do so. He did an amazing job with Sins of the Father, The Wicked Day or The Labyrinth of Gedref. He's a really great television writer and can mix drama with humour and well written characters. I have high hopes for Atlantis with the Murphy-Capps-Overman trio at the helm of production.

Indigo Montoya said...

Glad to hear it! Ah, see that's what we differ. I get that Goblin's Gold was supposed to be a lighthearted, more child friendly episode but I didn't find it funny at all. But I've really enjoyed Overman's other episodes and I have high hopes for Atlantis : )